Slain woman dismissed death threats, court hears

Tamrat Gebere


OTTAWA - Told her ex-boyfriend had threatened to kill her, cut her in pieces and send her back to her native Ethiopia, Aster Kassa was unafraid.

"She said 'Don't worry, don't be afraid,'" her sister Genet Kassa testified at Tamrat Gebere's second-degree murder trial Friday.

"She said, 'He is trying to frighten you. He is trying to frighten me.' When she said he is not going to do this, I said, "Be careful, I am really afraid of this person.'"

Aster Kassa was found dead with 53 separate knife wounds in a pool of her own blood, her toddler nearby, in her Ottawa apartment on July 17, 2010.

Gebere, 37, the father of her child, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to second-degree murder in her death.

Genet Kassa testified that a third sister reported Gebere had made the threats when he called their home in Ethiopia from Ottawa, where Aster, 32, was living apart from him.

She moved into her new apartment with her 17-month-old daughter the day before she was killed after more than a year of living in shelters because, she told her sister, Gebere was controlling and isolating her.

"She had a good feeling and she was telling me that she was going to move out (of the shelter) and herself and her child would have a good thing," Genet Kassa testified through an Amharic interpreter.

The trial continues on Monday.

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